Submitted for Haibun Thinking Week 8

haibun4plus21Welcome to Haibun Thinking. A weekly writing challenge to create verse, prose and haiku using prompts from all areas of art including – but not limited to – movies, songs, art, photography etc.  It is all explained at the link above.  There is a link tool to submit your haibun.  If you don’t know how to write the form haibun, there is information about it at the link above too.

This week is freestyle week and in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and my mother who is as Irish as can be, I am going to rework an Irish themed fictional story that I wrote previously.

Arrival in a New Country

I am about to tell you a story that happened to me and you will find it hard to believe.  This kind of freaky phenomena only happens in fictional movies.  It was Friday morning and my head was woozy and I thought I had some kind of flu.  I was standing in what looked like a bedroom but it was completely different than my room.  My modern furnishings were all gone and had been replaced with a rustic dresser, a simple bed and a worn area rug.  There was a steamer trunk near the bedroom door.  I rubbed my eyes as I was sure that I was dreaming but everything seemed so real.  I was a bit scared because I didn’t understand what was going on and all I could remember from last night was a big fight with my mom because she didn’t understand the struggles I had finding a job and starting my adult life.  I told her that she should try being me for a day and see how she feels.

Generation gap

Will we ever cross that bridged

In each other’s shoes

I left the bedroom to explore the rest of the house.  It appeared to be a farmhouse but I didn’t know where I was.  I couldn’t find any other people, which helped me to continue to think I was dreaming.  I went out into the yard and sure enough it was a farm.  I saw chickens, a few cows and what looked like a vegetable patch.  A closer look at the garden revealed it was potatoes.  The experience was very strange but it seemed a little familiar to me but I know I had never been on this farm before.

Just then, I heard a voice calling from the farmhouse but it wasn’t my name.  The person was calling my mom.  I looked around but I didn’t see her any where.  I walked towards the voice and was shocked to see my uncle but he looked different.  He looked more than fifty years younger than when I met him when he visited us in the United States.  What was he doing here.  As far as I knew, he was still living on the family farm in Ireland.  THE FAMILY FARM IN IRELAND? 

I must be dreaming because this place that looked so familiar to me I had seen in a photograph that my mom had brought with her when she came to America in the 1950s.  “Why didn’t you answer when I was calling you?” said my uncle.  He was looking straight at me.  All I could do was stare.  “Come into the house and get ready to go.  We need to get you to Cobh to meet your ship” he continued.  I was struck dumb but managed to follow him into the house.  He had moved the trunk that I had seen in the bedroom out to the front room.  I looked down at myself and nearly fainted when I saw what I was wearing.  It was a cotton flower print dress and I was wearing what I jokingly would refer to as sensible shoes.  I looked like I stepped off the set of the Donna Reed Show or the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.  I looked around for a mirror and screamed.  What I saw in the mirror was a young women staring back at me.  I had become my mom but when she was in her 20s.

MaryRyanPortrait_CroppedJust starting her life

Before wife, before mother

What will happen next

I had no time to ponder what was happening.  My uncle told me to get my coat and my handbag and get in the truck.  He lifted the trunk and carried it outside.  We drove away from the farm onto a narrow road and all I could see around me was green.  There were rolling fields everywhere and fences made of stone.  I truly believed now that I was in Ireland and I was my mother more than fifty years ago.

pastoral-landscape_6792_600x450My uncle talked to me the entire trip.  He kept asking about my passport, my ticket and did I know what I was to do when I arrived in New York.  I told him I was all set but I was truly upset.  I didn’t know what I was going to do but it seem that it was all out of my hands.  We arrived in a place called Cobh, Ireland.  I had heard of this place before and it gave me a sinking feeling.  You see Cobh in County Cork Ireland used to be named Queenstown and that was the Titanic’s last port before the fatal voyage.  Of course this was not 1912, so I was comforted that I was not reliving that nightmare.

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In the port of Cobh, I saw a ship and I knew that I was going to be reliving my mom’s immigration to America.  My uncle helped me get on board and he stored my trunk.  We hugged and said goodbye.  We both promised to write.  I thought it was odd that my aunt and other uncle weren’t there to see me off but I suppose they may not have been living at home or maybe my mom said her goodbyes to them previously.

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The voyage took eighteen days and I had my share of bouts of seasickness but overall it was a pleasant trip.  The people I met were interesting but mostly I had to work hard at being my mom.  I knew nothing about being a young women in the 1950s let alone being from Ireland and traveling to a new country.

When I stepped off the ship in New York City, I think I was experiencing it as my mom had.  I was overwhelmed and felt like I wanted to get back on board and go back to my simple farm life.

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New York was a very big place and I didn’t know why I had become my mom but I stepped forward to see what was in store for me in this time several decades ago.  All of a sudden my head became woozy again and when my vision cleared, I was in a familiar place, my bedroom.  Since there was a computer on my desk and I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops, I knew I was back in 2014.  I went out to the kitchen to find my mom and tell her I was sorry about our fight last night.   She had an odd look on her face and seemed really glad to see me.  We hugged and told each other that we understand each other’s point of view.  Did she have an eye opening experience too?

Generation gap

Venturing across that bridged

Comfortable shoes

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11 responses

  1. Sheryl says:

    Great story and pictures. The old aerial photo of the farm is awesome.

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    • Thanks. I think my mom said they were coming around and offering to do it for area farms. I can’t imagine that her family sought out to have it done and paid for it as they were simple folk.

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  2. Brenda says:

    Great story and pictures. Your mom was very brave!

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  3. Al says:

    Very Freaky Friday, but it works a lot better as there wasn’t the cringy stuff.It is a very good way of showing the differences between then and now.

    Fantastic

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  4. julespaige says:

    I really enjoyed this switch – I would like to do that I think with other relatives just so we could understand each other better. My piece is pure fiction:

    Prospecting

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  5. aloha Maryann. intriguing plot and an ambitious undertaking. i like that you explore your family this way. aloha.

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